Submarine Telegraph Act, 1885

Punishment for violation of Article 2 of Convention.

3. (1.) A person shall not unlawfully and wilfully, or by culpable negligence, break or injure any submarine cable to which the Convention for the time being applies, in such manner as might interrupt or obstruct in whole or in part telegraphic communication.

(2.) Any person who acts or attempts to act in contravention of this section shall be guilty of a misdemeanour, and on conviction—

(a.) if he acted wilfully, shall be liable to penal servitude for a term not exceeding five years, or to imprisonment, with or without hard labour, for a term not exceeding two years, and to a fine either in lieu of or in addition to such penal servitude or imprisonment; and

(b.) if he acted by culpable negligence, shall be liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding three months, without hard labour, and to a fine not exceeding one hundred pounds either in lieu of or in addition to such imprisonment.

(3.) Where a person does any act with the object of preserving the life or limb of himself or of any other person, or of preserving the vessel to which he belongs or any other vessel, and takes all reasonable precautions to avoid injury to a submarine cable, such person shall not be deemed to have acted unlawfully and wilfully within the meaning of this section.

(4.) A person shall not be deemed to have unlawfully and wilfully broken or injured any submarine cable, where in the bonâ fide attempt to repair another submarine cable injury has been done to such first-mentioned cable, or the same has been broken; but this shall not apply so as to exempt such person from any liability under this Act or otherwise to pay the cost of repairing such breakage or injury.

(5.) Any person who within or (being a subject of Her Majesty) without Her Majesty’s dominions in any manner procures, counsels, aids, abets, or is accessory to the commission of any offence under this section, shall be guilty of a misdemeanour, and shall be liable to be tried and punished for the offence as if he had been guilty as a principal.

[S. 4 rep. 50 Vict. c. 3. s. 3.]